The Tampa Bay Rays look to bounce back from a disappointing loss Thursday night and thus secure a winning record on their final road trip of the season.
In spite of the loss, the Rays remain mathematically alive in the AL Wildcard race, although they will need help from the Twins and Orioles this weekend, as they sit 6.5 games behind the Athletics and 8 games behind the Yankees with 10 games remaining.
This one (referring to Thursday night’s ballgame) definitely hurts, Matt Duffy said. It’s obviously disappointing. … This one definitely puts us in a difficult position. We’re going to bounce back, we’re going to do what we can. Mathematically, we’re still in it, so we’re going to keep going until this thing is over.
At the very least, Tampa Bay needs to win five more games to secure a 90-win season for the first time since 2013 — the last time the Rays earned a postseason berth.
The New What Next
Diego Castillo (3-2, 3.14 ERA) will open for the Rays, while Jalen Beeks (4-1, 5.32 ERA) is available to throw the bulk of the innings. They will be opposed by Sean Reid-Foley (2-3, 5.54 ERA).
Castillo’s last five appearances — and nine of his last 11 — have come as the opener. The Rays are 8-1 when Castillo opens, with the only loss coming on September 14 against the Athletics. The right-hander has allowed four earned runs over 22-2/3 innings in his last 15 appearances, punching out 24 and walking just five.
Jalen Beeks pitched two shutout innings of relief on Tuesday, allowing just two hits and no walks. It will be interesting to see if Kevin Cash lengthens his leash since Beeks has allowed just one run across four combined appearances spanning 10 innings. However, the southpaw has not thrown more than three innings in a game since August 24 against the Red Sox, although the Rays have won his last six appearances.
Sean Reid-Foley earned a win against the Yankees on Saturday, striking out 10 and allowing two hits and four walks across five scoreless innings. Reid-Foley totaled 92 pitches (55 strikes, 60% K/BB) as the walks inflated his pitch count a bit. He, however, was fantastic against a playoff-caliber offense. The right-hander was about 10 innings away from his limit for the season entering Saturday, so his start Friday will likely be the last of the season. This season he has relied primarily on his 94 mph four-seam fastball and an 84 mph slider, while also mixing in an 86 mph changeup and an 82 mph curveball.
Rays 9/21/18 Starting Lineup
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